The abuse that Thomas Cruise Mapother III inflicted on his family came to a head in 1974. This, writes Andrew Morton in “Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography,” was when verbal attacks, secret consumption of alcohol and Mapother’s instability became too much for his wife. Mary Lee. In a momentous decision for a devout Catholic woman of her generation, she took the children, left Mapother and filed for divorce. It was a big financial gamble as well as a personal upheaval; Mapother was not prepared to provide child support.
Tom Cruise, 12 at the time, did not mourn his father’s absence from home. When Mapother followed his family to Kentucky and attempted to reach out to his son, Cruise firmly rejected him. Morton writes that when Mapother remarried, Cruise made a dutiful appearance at the ceremony. When finished, he abstained from all contact with his father, new stepmother, and step-siblings.
Reconciliation efforts were made in the 1980s, after Cruise’s acting career began. By this time, Mapother was seriously ill, wasting away from cancer in his late 40s. He imposed a condition on the reunion: no questions about the past. Cruise agreed to his father’s terms and met him at the hospital. Later, he could only describe the final encounter as “sad”.